“He lived happily ever after.”

I have always loved the closing lines of the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Willy leans over to Charlie and in a cautionary tone says, “But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted.”

“What happened?” Charlie Bucket asks.

Willy Wonka replies, “He lived happily ever after.”

Sometimes everything aligns, and you’re given an opportunity to do something that is exactly what you want to do. I’ve had this happen to me in the past. Sometimes I took advantage of the opportunity, and sometimes I didn’t — because I didn’t know if I could make it work financially, or because the logistics were just too complicated.

A couple of months ago, someone handed me one of these opportunities: to teach meditation in the central prison in Belize.

I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is mine. I love to teach the CBCT compassion meditation program, and teaching in prisons has special meaning for me. And I always enjoy the challenge of working cross-culturally, to translate concepts familiar to me into a culture I don’t know well.

It’s hard work, and no, it doesn’t always lead to happiness. But then, happiness isn’t one of the goals of my life — I view happiness as a passing, transient emotion. What is important to me is to live a meaningful, generative, creative life.

So I said yes to the project. Before I knew how I would fund the trip, before I knew how I would work out all of the logistics.

And the pieces are coming together.

We still need help with the funding. To learn more about the work, and to help make this a reality, please follow this link.

Many thanks.

© 2016 Teresa I. Sivilli. All rights reserved.

Inmates in the Belize Central Prison
Inmates in the Belize Central Prison